A cafe (pronounced /ˈkæfeɪ/ or /kæˈfeɪ/), also spelled cafe, may in the United States mean an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches,while in most other countries it refers to an establishment which focuses on serving coffee, like an American coffeehouse.
A “café” can also refer to a small informal public discussion. These are usually live events, and often focus on starting an open conversation on a particular topic. Examples include science cafes in the US, Café Scientifique in the UK, and Café Society in Chicago.
In most European countries, such as Austria, France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Portugal, etc., the term café implies primarily serving coffee, typically complemented by a slice of cake/tart/pie, a “danish pastry”, a plain bun, or similar sweet pastry on the side. Many (or most) cafés also serve small meals such as sandwiches. European cafés often have an enclosed or outdoor section extending onto the sidewalk. Some cafés also serve alcoholic beverages.
Iguana Café – Tahlequah, Oklahoma.
In the United Kingdom and Ireland a café (with the acute accent) is similar to those in other European countries, while a cafe (without acute accent) refers to a Greasy spoon style restaurant, where the establishment has a focus on fried or grilled food, in particular breakfast dishes.
In the Netherlands and Belgium, a café is the equivalent of a bar, an establishment selling alcoholic beverages. A coffeeshop, which exists in the former country, is an establishment which sells soft drugs (cannabis and hashish) and is generally not allowed